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skunk cabbage

a low, fetid, broad-leaved North American plant, Symplocarpus foetidus, of the arum family, having a brownish-purple and green mottled spathe surrounding a stout spadix, growing in moist ground.
a related plant, Lysichiton americanum, of western North America, having a cluster of green leaves and a spike of flowers surrounded by a yellow spathe.
Origin of skunk cabbage
1745-55, Americanism Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.
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Examples from the Web for skunk-cabbage
Historical Examples
  • Moreover, he is the only animal which can swallow the tight-rolled green cigars of the skunk-cabbage in the early spring.

    Everyday Adventures Samuel Scoville
  • From the smooth sumac they reap a harvest in midsummer, and in March they get a good grist of pollen from the skunk-cabbage.

    A Year in the Fields John Burroughs
  • skunk-cabbage, you call it; so quaint a flower deserves a rather better name.

  • The funniest thing I ever saw for sale was a basket of skunk-cabbage flowers on Broadway.

  • The flowers are often fragrant, but the plant has a disagreeable smell, something like skunk-cabbage, when crushed.

  • Off in the ferns there beat a warning tattoo—the loud whir of the snake's tail against a skunk-cabbage leaf.

    Roof and Meadow Dallas Lore Sharp
  • This plant belongs to the same family as the skunk-cabbage of the East and the calla-lily.

  • The last is hardly gone before the advance guard of skunk-cabbage appears again.

    In the Open Stanton Davis Kirkham
  • skunk-cabbage loses its odor and acridity with age, and should therefore not be kept longer than one season.

    Ginseng and Other Medicinal Plants A. R. (Arthur Robert) Harding
British Dictionary definitions for skunk-cabbage

skunk cabbage

a low-growing fetid aroid swamp plant, Symplocarpus foetidus of E North America, having broad leaves and minute flowers enclosed in a mottled greenish or purple spathe
a similar aroid plant, Lysichitum americanum, of the W coast of North America and N Asia
Turkish name (1392–1913) skunkweed
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition
© William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012
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